December 10, 2014 / 1:22 PM / in 3 years

Mercedes must boost China volume to snatch luxury sales crown: executive

A Mercedes-Benz logo is seen on a car displayed on media day at the Paris Mondial de l'Automobile, October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

STUTTGART, Germany (Reuters) - Daimler’s (DAIGn.DE) Mercedes-Benz needs to catch up with German rivals BMW and Audi in China to meet its goal of becoming the world’s largest maker of luxury cars by 2020, a company executive said on Wednesday.

Daimler’s premier luxury brand may sell “clearly more than 300,000” cars in China next year after boosting volumes in the world’s No. 1 auto market by about 30 percent this year, the carmaker’s China chief, Hubertus Troska, told reporters at Daimler’s base in Stuttgart, Germany.

Mercedes-Benz must “significantly reduce the gap” to German rivals, Troska said. “There are huge opportunities to keep growing in China.”

Mercedes-Benz has lagged BMW (BMWG.DE) and Audi (VOWG_p.DE) in China for years, partly because of problems with distribution networks that have since been fixed. In 2013, Daimler’s flagship brand sold 228,000 cars there, compared with nearly 492,000 for Audi and over 362,000 for BMW.

Reporting by Irene Preisinger; Writing by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Maria Sheahan

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